Thursday 12 December 2019

Player diary: Isa Nacewaa - week off has a bitter taste after a defeat

We all need the break after 16 weeks on the go but the next game can't come quick enough either

Isa Nacewa is urging Leinster’s young guns to step up and grab their moment during the Six Nations Photo: Sportsfile
Isa Nacewa is urging Leinster’s young guns to step up and grab their moment during the Six Nations Photo: Sportsfile
Isa Nacewa (r) is tackled by Bath's Rob Webber Photo: Sportsfile
Isa Nacewa is tackled by George Ford

Isa Nacewaa

That was long! Sixteen weeks in a row. I can't remember the last time we have had a schedule like this. Granted there was the postponed game against Glasgow Warriors but we still had to travel. So 15 games in 16 weeks. It's been busy.

Treviso away post Ireland's World Cup quarter-final loss to Argentina seems like a lifetime ago. Throw in a disappointing European campaign and it has been a whirlwind four months.

There have been plenty of highs in that time, though, and it's important that those moments are not forgotten in the conversations - the emergence of some of those younger guys that have come in and the way they have grown into those jerseys.

Some of the performances have also been very encouraging. You think back to Munster away from home or the battling performance against Connacht in awful conditions. You think of Bath and how positively those young lads played. So as we come to the end of that first big block of games, it has certainly been interesting.

It's the first week in a long time that the players here at Leinster that aren't involved in the Six Nations can sit back and switch off mentally.

For a few days at least. A chance to get away and just clear the mind. And that is needed after the Dragons loss last week.

A down week, recovery week, week off, what ever you want to call it, always has a bitter taste when coming off a loss. You would much rather be heading into those days off on a high but it wasn't to be. Credit to the Dragons but we need to be better next Friday in the RDS.

Funnily enough, while the break has been welcome for most, for me, and for those of us out injured but maybe seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, you want the week to be over and another one done on the road to recovery.

Having not been involved these past two weeks after the knee injury, this week can't be over quick enough. I know a lot of the guys are like that too and while they were looking forward to the break only a few days ago, now will be chomping at the bit to be back in at Leinster to get ready for Zebre at the RDS next Friday. Nothing beats running out to our RDS faithful.

The Six Nations block of games has an awkwardly familiar feeling, after the World Cup block.

We will once again be minus 18 players and this is another massive opportunity for everyone else to step up and grab their moment.

So many of the guys did that in the early block of games and now it is up to them and others to drive it on again.

We have the experience of the World Cup and knowing how to balance our resources but that doesn't make it any easier.

Even just the training sessions and having less bodies around the place, it has an impact, but I have been massively impressed by the young guys and how they have reacted and I look forward to seeing that again on Monday morning when we are all back in and going at it.

There is, though, one fella that I just don't want to see around the place but for very good reason.

I am bitterly disappointed to see our good friend Luke Fitzgerald back in the Leinster HQ. A knee injury in training is the last thing you want to hear from someone in great form.

He has been one of our best and most consistent performers all season and has been in blazing hot form lately. He will be sorely missed in the Irish camp going into the Six Nations.

I am gutted for him but he is a very resilient character and will come back for us in Leinster for a vitally important run-in and I know he will do everything in his power to get back in as good a shape as before. That's the Luke that we all know in here. A consummate pro.

While our attention next week will be on the Guinness Pro12 and the visit of Zebre, as you would expect Six Nations is the talk of town. With so many guys involved naturally everyone back at Leinster will be 100pc behind all our guys and hoping they will all get a chance to face Wales.

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